Archy Marshall has made a fair amount of noise over the past year for a series of singles that have made their way out through bandcamp. In particular “Out Getting Ribs” drew attention for the evocative video featuring Marshall himself looking a bit like an odd cross of La Roux and Rick Astley. Though the parade of singles last year were great for what they were, here we see Marshall’s first concentrated effort at a fully realized release and hey, it’s pretty good.
Though he’s recently made a name change from last year’s Zoo Kid to this year’s King Krule, he hasn’t really departed too far from the sound he established. Marshall has introduced samples into the mix on songs like “Bleak Bake” and “The Noose of Jah City,” but on the other seven minutes of the EP we’re treated to the same sort of guitar pop that he gave us through the singles. However, where material was at one point sparse and haunting, he has introduced a new urgency brought about by the addition of a full backing band. “Portrait of Black and Blue” is pretty similar to something like last year’s “Ocean Bed” on a base level, but because it has the addition of bass and drums, it moves so much more. The singularity in Marshall’s early tracks came from the heartbreaking emotionality that the bare bones arrangements allowed, and while one might assume that expanding such arrangements would eliminate the uniqueness of his songwriting, he’s now able to establish a uniqueness in a different way. His tracks now have a musical dexterity that wasn’t possible in the days where Marshall’s ‘band’ consisted solely of guitar and voice.
Though its brevity is one of the most notable facts of this new release (the EP clocks in at a slight 13 minutes), the most is made of the time given. There’s no filler, no fat to be trimmed, simply four solid pop songs and a brief instrumental introduction tied together in a neat fashion. It’s a brief but solid insight into the mind of a blossoming songwriter. And by the way, Archy Marshall is 17 years old. This EP gives us nothing but big things to expect from such a young mind.